Pune: Like many Indian women, college student Suvarna Dongare dreads getting caught short when she is out and about, with hygienic public toilets in short supply across the country. So she was pleasantly surprised to find a pink women-only ‘washroom-on-wheels’ in a public park in Pune — one of the several facilities dotting the city where a pair of entrepreneurs transformed run-down buses into hop-on toilets.
“I came to the park and wanted to visit the bathroom urgently. These toilets are very comfortable and felt safe,” 18-year-old Dongare said.
For a relatively affordable Rs 5, any woman can board the toilet to use the facilities, breastfeed babies or purchase sanitary napkins and diapers. Launched in 2016 by entrepreneurs Ulka Sadalkar and Rajeev Kher, the Ti Toilet project – ‘ti’ means ‘her’ in Marathi — has 12 mobile washrooms, on an average used by more 200 women every day. The buses are powered by solar panels mounted on top of the vehicle.
Sadalkar said the pair, who runs a portable sanitation business, came up with the idea as part of a series of projects focused on improving hygiene in the city.
“We believe women deserve access to clean and safe washrooms and it is their basic right,” she said, adding that the duo wanted to open 1,000 toilets across India in the next five years. We focused a lot on aesthetics in refurbishing these buses and provided clean toilets, TV sets, temperature monitors with an attendant in tow.”